JACQUI LAMBIE PRESSER
Senator Jacqui Lambie says she and her candidates want to see stability in Tasmania's government. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

Lambie open to backing Liberal minority in Tasmania

Ethan James March 25, 2024

Maverick senator Jacqui Lambie has indicated her party is open to propping up a minority Liberal government in Tasmania but won’t provide a guaranteed vote in parliament.

The Liberals, under leader Jeremy Rockliff, appear on track to win 15 seats after Saturday’s state election, short of the 18 required to govern in their own right.

Labor, which has claimed 10 seats, on Sunday conceded it wouldn’t be able to form government.

Mr Rockliff, the nation’s only Liberal premier, has reached out to the Jacqui Lambie Network, which has secured two seats and possibly a third, as well as two independents.

TASMANIA ELECTION WASHUP
 Tasmania’s Liberal leader Jeremy Rockliff has reached out to the Jackie Lambie Network for support. Image by Rob Blakers/AAP PHOTOS 

Senator Lambie said her successful candidates, to be known once further counting occurs, would meet with Mr Rockliff over Easter.

She said her party would not seek ministerial positions and would push issues including government transparency, health, housing and education.

“What we want is stability in Tasmania,” she told ABC Radio on Monday.

“And if we don’t get that stability, we’re probably going to end up back at an election in three months’ time. I do not want Tasmania doing that.”

Senator Lambie said her party members want to see a government with supply and confidence.

“(But) that won’t give them a guarantee that we will be voting on every piece of legislation with them,” she said, adding that such an arrangement would be a good thing because “it keeps them on their toes”.

The senator has been very critical of the Liberals, particularly their plans for a new $715 million Hobart stadium attached to the state’s contract for an AFL team.

However, one of her network candidates in the mix for a seat supports the stadium.

The project must be voted through parliament to get the green light.

Liberal deputy leader Michael Ferguson said he was hopeful of delivering the party’s election promises and pledged to work constructively.

“The Jacqui Lambie Network new members are saying they want to see stability,” he told reporters.

“No doubt they have other things they want to bring to discussions.”

Mr Rockliff on Sunday conceded the Liberals had taken a “bit of a kick” on the stadium issue and broadly, with their first-preference vote dropping by 12 per cent.

Tasmanian member for Clark Kristie Johnston
 Independent Kristie Johnston has previously butted heads with the Liberals on animal welfare issues. Image by Rob Blakers/AAP PHOTOS 

Mr Rockliff has also reached out to left-leaning independent Kristie Johnston and independent David O’Byrne, who was a decades-long Labor member and one-time leader.

Tasmania went to the polls more than a year early after the Liberals failed to resolve a minority government standoff with two crossbench former-party independents.

Mr O’Byrne said a new government would need to be mindful of how they negotiate.

“If they want to have a … crash-through approach in this parliament, I can guarantee you they will crash,” he told reporters.

Four seats remain in doubt, with the state’s electoral commission expecting the count to continue until April 6 with a final declaration on April 10.

Tasmanian Labor Leader Rebecca White
 Tasmanian Labor leader Rebecca White has been accused of “gifting” the Liberals government. Image by Rob Blakers/AAP PHOTOS 

Labor leader Rebecca White has refused to comment on reports she has been dumped from the role after a third unsuccessful tilt at becoming premier and her party’s 29 per cent vote.

The Greens, who have at least four seats, labelled Labor’s decision to effectively concede as “gifting” the Liberals government.

SEATS IN TASMANIA’S NEW PARLIAMENT

* Liberal 12, Labor 10, Greens four, Jacqui Lambie Network two, independents two, in doubt four.